J.K. Rowling is facing new accusations of transphobia thanks to one of the characters in her upcoming book, Troubled Blood, set for release on Sept 15. The story revolves around a male cisgender serial killer who dresses up like a woman to trick his victims for the fifth installment of Rowling’s crime fiction series Cormoran Strike, which is published under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. Given that the Harry Potter author has made statements many considered transphobic — such as writing that she doesn’t want to “make natal girls and women less safe” by granting access inside female bathrooms and changing rooms to “any man who believes or feels he’s a woman” — the new book’s plot line sparked controversy on Twitter.
“…I have to say, the irony here is rich: Basically JK Rowling is posing as a man (Robert Galbraith) to write a novel about a man who poses as a woman to kill people. PROJECTING MUCH?!?!,” Whipping Girl author Julia Serano tweeted. Meanwhile, fellow author Paris Lees tweeted, “Maybe there’s a twist in JK Rowling’s book and the killer’s really a ‘real’ woman or something, but it’s reasonable to assume the worst when she’s spent all year being hostile to trans people and stays silent when Republican senators quote her while blocking votes on LGBTQ rights.”
Others pointed out what they saw as an underlying transphobic message in Rowling’s new book. “Jk rowling’s claims about the dangers of trans people are so far fetched that she had to write a fictional story to support them,” one such person tweeted, which gained over 1,000 “likes,” and another wrote, “tw transphobia // every day is a good day to stop giving jk rowling even one precious cent of your money, but ESPECIALLY in light of her moving her violent transphobia out of the subtext of her books and into the text.” HollywoodLife has reached out to Rowling’s rep for comment, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
Rowling has faced increasing accusations of transphobia since the end of 2019. At the time, she defended Maya Forstater, a researcher in England who was fired for tweeting that it was “impossible to change sex.” In the wake of the controversy, Rowling infamously tweeted, “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?#IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill.”
The backlash reached new heights in June of 2020, when Rowling responded to an article headline that read, “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.” In response, she wrote over the headline on Twitter, “People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” — ignoring the fact that transgender men and nonbinary people menstruate as well. At the time, even Harry Potter stars like Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson — among other celebrities — spoke up to defend transgender women.
Rowling then defended her views with a 3,600-word essay in June of 2020, which referenced her experience with sexual assault for being the reason she’s advocating for “having concerns around single-sex spaces.” Although she insisted that “the majority of trans-identified people not only pose zero threat to others” and “deserve protection,” she argued about the dangers of letting “any and all men” into spaces for women.